Colby-led collaboration is revitalizing Waterville’s Main Street and shaping the city and the College for the future
Businessman Charlie Giguere has always been optimistic about the future of downtown Waterville. So optimistic that he’s literally bet on that optimism, purchasing and renovating several Main Street properties, including Silver Street Tavern.
But bullish on the city as he is, Giguere, a Waterville native whose father ran a downtown supermarket, didn’t imagine he’d see the city’s historic core infused with as much as $50 million, as Colby, the Harold Alfond Foundation, and other private investors join to lift the downtown from its economic malaise. “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime,” Giguere said. “It’s like Waterville won the lottery.”
The winning revitalization “ticket” has dramatically changed the prospects for the downtown, the city, and the region. Colby and the Alfond Foundation pledged $10 million each as Colby purchased five downtown properties, announced plans for a Main Street hotel and mixed-use development, including student apartments, and began renovations of a building that will house a regional center for CGI, a tech company planning to provide 200 jobs.
It’s a bold plan, spearheaded by President David A. Greene and endorsed by the Board of Trustees. Progress is visible and change is coming, with the CGI building undergoing extensive renovations and expected to be occupied this summer, and the hotel and mixed-use development underway expected to open in 2018.